Monthly Archives: September 2011

Rosemary Tuscan bread…

It is the first day of autumn today, but you would not know it just by looking out my window.  The lazy palms are dancing in a gentle breeze with a perfectly blue sky as a backdrop.  However, there is a subtle change in the morning and afternoon, the marine layer hangs around a little longer, keeping everything damp and cool.  Although the word “crisp” is a stretch in describing the weather, there are the feelings of the beginning of a seasonal change.  I have been playing around with a number of soups lately as the evening fog draws me into a cooler space in my mind.  Tortilla soup, Tuscan cabbage soup, creamy tomato soup, spicy pepper soup, all asking for some good bread for dunking.  I went with a traditional Tuscan round, no salt, but I warmed it up a little with some rosemary and cracked pepper.  This bread also makes for a perfect breakfast with a little olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.  You can also slice and toast this bread, rub with a little garlic, and serve with your soup of choice.  This recipe makes two little loaves, perfect for freezing…or sharing with your neighbor.

Rosemary Tuscan rounds…

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 tbs active dry yeast

2 heaping tbs fresh rosemary, minced

cracked pepper

pinch of sugar

Dissolve yeast and a pinch of sugar in warm water for  about 10 minutes.  Stir together rosemary, cracked pepper, and flour.  Now, I just used a bowl and a wooden spoon for this bread, no need to dirty a mixer.  Mix together yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour mixture, then slowly mix in the rest of the flour, little by little. Dough will be stiff. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes.  Cover on a lightly floured surface or bowl and let double in size, about 2 hours.  Then punch down the bread, cut dough in half, and shape into loaves.  Let double in size again on a floured sheet pan, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


KidNote…

It has been a while! We are back after some heartbreaking technological failure…some goodies were lost after our sick little PowerBook finally passed away, but the essentials were saved thankfully.  A good reminder to me to back everything up, I just wish that it hadn’t hit me like drinking a Jolt Cola.

Fall is approaching quickly, although in Los Angeles I am waiting for it to be cool enough to run my oven all day long, baking pumpkin bread and apple crisp.  We are still beach bound at this point. Nonetheless the fall spirit  is tangible.  I bought some delicata squash the other day and its intended use was as a soup. However, given the heat, it ended up broiled, seasoned, and diced over a nice crisp salad. But the process lead to much more than I could have anticipated.

The seeds of this chosen squash were the first things that my daughter and I actually cooked together from beginning to end.  We started with roasting seeds as our first culinary adventure…perfect for fall and an easy to do. I did the slicing of the squash, but with some newspaper on the kitchen floor, she took out the seeds (which she loved), we rinsed them together in a bowl, she spread them (read: threw them) on a baking sheet,  she also salted them which she did ever so gently and methodically from my pinch bowl…and I cracked the pepper.

Watching her made me think of something Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “Cooking is 80 percent confidence, a skill best acquired starting when the apron strings wrap around you twice”.  So a toast to confidence building this fall, enjoy!

Oven roasted squash seeds…

 Seeds of any fall/late summer squash

kosher salt

cracked fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut and prepare squash and scoop out seeds.  Rinse and remove any remaining flesh. Salt and pepper to taste. Baked until lightly toasted and dry, about 15 minutes. Time varies depending on the seed size. 

Cook together, toast to each other, and share!